Family warns other parents after child nearly dies from secondar - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Family warns other parents after child nearly dies from secondary drowning


A three-year-old child nearly died after experiencing secondary drowning. It's a condition many parents don't know about that can cause swelling in the lungs after a swimmer inhales water. If untreated, secondary drowning can be deadly.

It's something that can happen to your child even hours after they get out of the pool. The family of three-year-old Lizzie wants to help make sure this doesn't happen to any other children.

“If I would have lost her, I just would have been devastated,” Cassandra Marks said.

Marks had taken her kids swimming at a family members backyard pool when the unthinkable happened.

“Lizzie decided to get in the pool and I guess slipped on the steps and fell in the water,” Marks said.

Soon after, Lizzie's 13-year old brother, Sam, pulled her out of the water.

“She was gray in the face, blue in the lips, and her eyes were in her head,” Sam said. “She was spitting up water and stuff. I didn't know what was happening. I was really scared.”

Thankfully, Sam knew what to do.

“Sam got Lizzie up on the deck and started CPR on her,” Marks said.

After that, Marks said Lizzie seemed fine. It wasn't until later that she realized there was something else wrong with her little girl.

“She started to go to sleep. One of the family members came by and she said ‘Don't let that baby go to sleep' And I said ‘Well, why not?' and she said ‘Because she won't wake back up,'” Mark said.

She was taken to the hospital, where she stayed for almost seven hours. Little Lizzie had nearly died from the effects of secondary drowning.

Lizzie's aunt, Zina Jacobs, lives in Park Hills and said she's thankful she heard about secondary drowning prior to this incident.

“It was a blessing. It went through four people and on the fourth one, it saved a little girls life,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs had passed the word along to other family members who were at the pool that day.

“It terrifies me. I'm so thankful to God that he did allow her to breathe again,” Jacobs said.

Now, the family wants to spread word of secondary drowning to everyone.

“It can happen to your child, or your grand child, or your niece or nephew, cousin, family member, regardless,” Jacobs said.

According to the CDC, about 400 drownings occur every year. That number includes drowning in the water as well as secondary drowning. Experts say parents should watch closely for the following symptoms if your child inhales water in the pool: persistent coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, lethargy, fever and unusual mood change.

Secondary drowning can happen up to 24 hours after swimming. Experts say if you notice these symptoms, take your child to the hospital immediately.

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